Hardly a labour of love, it's much more what you might call 'cathartic' as I find the courage to write my story. Keeping the end result in sight helps enormously, and it also helps to imagine in detail the reactions of people I intend to benefit from the tale - their expressions, their words, their situations. But going through it - well, that's another matter. It's been necessary to revisit certain episodes of my life to give credence and colour to the narrative. And it's tough. And it's draining. And it's very very sad.
It's tough to go back in to the black experiences in my past where I've felt so helpless and lonely. It's draining to dredge up old emotions, to go through old evidence, to revisit past happenings and see everything with new eyes. It's sad - heartbreaking - to understand how my naivety, positivity and trusting nature, the very part of me that friends and clients react to so positively, are the same parts that led me so willingly in to the lions den that very nearly claimed my sanity and perhaps my life.
Pain and shame is a good way to describe some of the emotions that are swirling around me at the moment. Not for the 'real life', not for the 'here and now' but for the 'then' which made up so much of my life. Pain at the excruciating hurt and anguish that came as a result of my naivety. Shame at the way I allowed so many things to happen. At my willingness to sacrifice myself at the alter in the wolf's lair - without any hesitation or even a backwards glance. At the fact that despite all this, despite giving my all, I still failed on the one goal I'd set out to achieve - being part of a nurturing and happy family for the rest of my life. That, indeed, is what has proven to be my downfall. Staying so fixed on the subconscious goal that I was blind to the realities. Oblivious to the day-to-day signs that could have shown me another way. Ignorant of the deliberately manipulative tactics of others, instead believing that the 'bad stuff' was somehow my fault. Instead accepting 'the edge of sanity' 'exhaustion' and 'crazymaking' as a normal set of feelings. Because I was told that this is what normal life is all about - and I believed my sources.
So this book is about taking meaning from the madness - for others as well as myself. And it's a tough journey to explain in writing.
Today is the twelfth anniversary of the day I met and fell in love with Cam. It's a massive confirmation to me for how far I've moved forward, since I didn't even realise the significance of the day until this afternoon! As I've said before, this day was always the most important day in the year for me - a day that signified true love, gratitude, safety, the finding of my true soulmate. It was a day that we would celebrate with gusto, and I would look forward to it for weeks!
This time last year I was trussed up in a full leg-brace, not yet realising the extent of my knee injury. I was equally ignorant as to the level of debts that were going to come out and bite me, since the major ones still hadn't hit. Surrounded by wonderfully supportive friends yet still I felt so desperately alone, and was still torturing myself trying to make sense of what had happened. Where had I gone wrong? What could I have done differently? How could I have been a better wife? How did it all fall apart when we'd been so strong together? All questions which, as I now realise, were utterly futile - but perfectly normal for people who have a healthy emotional response - and the very same questions that did nothing to alleviate my blindness in the past. The same sort of mindset that kept me oblivious to the truth. The very same approach that must have made me a superbly lively and entertaining mouse to the fat cat who was just toying with me.
At the same time, I did my best to keep hold of my optimism throughout all the difficult moments of last year. I believed, despite all indications to the contrary, that somehow I would find a way through. That somehow Dylan and I would be alright. That I'd be able to keep our home, and somehow find self-respect once again. That one day my confidence would return and that I may be able to earn a living using my skills as an executive coach. That one day I'd be able to look at myself in the mirror once again. Yes, I kept hold of those ideas even through overwhelming evidence that I was clearly kidding myself. No income. Debts. Injury. Who was I trying to convince...?
It's these very same attitudes of optimism, self-exploration and personal responsibility that made people perfect bait for the coldest most ruthless of sharks. Sharks who sneer at the pain of another and who thrive on confusion as they deliberately muddy the waters to disorientate their target even more. Pain and shame is what allows these sharks to win - and that's all they want to do. It's the only thing they know how to do. Anything else they pretend to be, is just that. Pretence. But for the rest of us, the 96% of the population who have a code of ethics, an emotional response, a conscience, we simply cannot comprehend that this kind of creature can exist among us. It simply will not sit in our frame of reference - even once pointed out. For even once the truth is laid bare, we will still struggle to come to terms with the fact that the person we thought of as being like this or like that is actually no more than a hollow shell. Automatically we will still revert back to our own feelings of guilt for some imaginary support we failed to provide. And that's what can make recovery such a slow and painful process.
But these feelings of pain and shame are what are driving me right now. And I must find the courage to work through them - honestly and in detail - so that I can make my story real for others. So that, perhaps, other people reading the book will finally be able to move through their own feelings and do something to help themselves. And in that way, then perhaps I've secured one more step forward in my battle to move in to the light - perhaps the very attitudes that led me blindly in to the lions den are going to be exactly the same attitudes to lead me through the darkness and out to salvation. Because when I take a step back to see what I've achieved by staying positive and (some would say) naively optimistic in the face of continued challenges, they seem to be working pretty well so far!
- Top Banana is set up and I'm making all the right contacts to keep work coming in and growing the business - clients new and old are all poised to make this autumn a very busy time!
- I've met all of my day-to-day financial obligations and paid every single bill on time - although sometimes I really don't know how!
- The book is coming along nicely - and the plans becoming more audacious by the day!
- Most importantly, though, Dylan is thriving on all levels - and is growing in to just the most wonderful young man, and cool and handsome to boot!
- Plus, I've got more friends than I can ever remember, new as well as a raft of old friends now coming out of the wood work - I am rich indeed!
Oh yes, indeed, pain and shame may be the winning game for sharks - but it will also be their downfall. Because it's taught me how to beat them at their own game. And soon, very soon, I'll be showing others how to do exactly the same. They ain't seen nothing yet..... Bring it on....!!!